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December 8th, 2009

Uganda Bill To Kill Gays

As you may have heard – or maybe not as the mainstream media hasn't been giving it much press – The Republic of Uganda in East Africa wants to kill gays.
Those blunt words aren't used as mere inflammatory rhetoric; I'm quite serious.  A bill that may – and likely will – be passed in early 2010 in Uganda seeks further punishment, which includes the death penalty, for homosexuals.

Already homosexuals suffer from few rights and harsh penalties under the anti-gay government.  In a land caught between a surge in evangelical Christianity (which believes homosexuality is a sin) and a nightmarish AIDS crisis (which has killed over 19 million Africans, 3.8 million of them children; of the 34.3 million people in the world infected with HIV, 24.5 million of them are in sub-Saharan Africa), homosexuals are seen as a dire threat.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, authored by lawmaker David Bahati, therefore, has garnered more support than ire in this ominous environment.  Bahati claims the legislation is about "promoting family values".

Punishments under its directive are severe; not only for being gay but for anyone who supports or hides/helps homosexuals and it seeks, also, to obstruct any sort of aid or advocacy for LGBT rights.  The bill imposes seven year prison sentences for even discussing homosexuality or advocating for LGBT rights and life imprisonment for homosexual acts with death meted out for a second offense.

Wording of the Ugandan bill is as follows:

A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.

A person who purports to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex commits the offence of homosexuality and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

A person who … who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices; commits an offence and is liable on conviction to … imprisonment of a minimum of five years and a maximum of seven years or both fine and imprisonment.

The full text can be read at Box Turtle Bulletin here.

If a person is accused – and found guilty – of gay sex and is, also, found to be HIV-positive or infected with AIDS, the sentence will be changed from life imprisonment to death under the charge of "aggravated homosexuality".  The charge also applies to those who are convicted of homosexual acts more than once; the penalty, again, is to be death.
While Uganda's president, Yoweri Kaguta, has not "formally" endorsed the bill, he is said to be happy with it and has allowed it to pass through Parliament.  Many of his top officials have spoken out about the bill; mainly to express their approval.  James Nsaba Buturo, the Ethics and Integrity Minister, feels "joy" over the bill as he believes it will "provide leadership around the world".  Whatever that means.

A three year prison sentence will also be set for those who are aware of another person's homosexuality or become privy to homosexual acts and fails to report it or turn the homosexual(s) in within 24 hours.  Reaching even farther, the bill also intends to punish Ugandans who engage in homosexual acts in foreign countries.  Even escaping the oppressive, anti-homosexual regime does not make a gay Ugandan safe it would appear.

As horrifying as all of this may seem, it may be a placating thought to imagine this is all happening in a land far away; a barbaric country being fueled by the fear of a major AIDS crisis and delusions from a very powerful evangelical Christian community.  The truth of the matter is, however, that America has played a part in this travesty.  In fact, conservative American Christian leaders who visited Uganda earlier this year helped lay the groundwork for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

From the Box Turtle Bulletin article, "Anonymous Ugandan Blogger Wants Answers From American Anti-Gay Activists":

An anonymous Ugandan gay blogger — gay bloggers are well advised to remain anonymous in Uganda — provides a fairly comprehensive backdrop against which three American anti-gay activists will be stepping. Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala next weekend. The conference is being organized by Stephen Langa, Director of Kampala-based Family Life Network.

It goes even deeper.  In "Follow the Money: The American Connection to Uganda's Death Sentence for Gays" over at Box Turtle Bulletin it is revealed that David Baharti, author of the bill, is part of the now infamous Family, outed this past year in Jeff Sharlet's inside-look and tell-all book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and a preacher of "dominionism" (taking over dominion of the world through Christ, essentially), who also attended the conference has refused to officially denounce Uganda's impending bill.

Some of the organizations tied to the conference in Kampala have come out denouncing the bill; others have not.

While we may view what is going on in Uganda with horror and disbelief, we also need to realize that there are people in our midst – in our churches and in our government – who believe in what is happening over there.  These same people, if they thought they could get away with it, would be – without a doubt – attempting to pass the same type of legislation here in America.

Under the guise of Christianity, these pseudo-pious individuals make a mockery of everything Jesus Christ stood for and what the Christian church is supposed to represent.  Love thy enemies?  No, instead, let's just kill them.  Wait – doesn't that go against one of the 10 Commandments?  That's okay, because these ignorant bigots and xenophobes are just making it up as they go along – letting their "faith" take them whichever way gives them more power.

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